Corona Virus Sri Lanka Live Updates

There is a lot of conflicting information from the gossip tree and news agencies about the status of the Corona virus in Sri Lanka. This article breaks down the information in a timeline as best as possible with continuous updates.

OTHER ARTICLES

  1. Travel advice and updates in Sri Lanka
  2. Curfew / Lock out details
  3. Travelers questions, should I stay or should I go?  
  4. COVID-19 infection map for Sri Lanka
  5. COVID-19 tourism map for Sri Lanka (hotels still open, taxis etc)

ABOUT COVID-19

  • 17.9% of people affected with coronavirus do not show any symptoms (link)
  • WHO recommends paracetamol, not ibuprofen for self-medicating (link)
  • Symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure and the three most common symptoms are: (1) Fever, (2) Cough, (3) Shortness of Breath (WHO). 
  • 99% of people who died in Italy had other illnesses (link)
  • The virus is carried by the droplets released when someone coughs or sneezes, it remains viable, or able to still infect people, in aerosols for at least three hours. On plastic and stainless steel, viable virus could be detected after three days. On cardboard, the virus was not viable after 24 hours. On copper, it took 4 hours for the virus to become inactivated. (link)

01/04/2020 – Validity period of all visa’s extended!

The Department of Immigration and Emigration today announced that the validity period of all categories of visas of all foreigners currently in Sri Lanka will be extended until May 12, 2020. (source).

25/03/2020 – 102 cases of COVID-19

Confirmed positive Covid-19 cases tally in Sri Lanka has jumped to 102, as the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry announced a total of 5 infected persons were recorded during the course of yesterday (source).

18/03/2020 – 50 cases of COVID-19

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi says that 9 more patients who had tested positive for Coronavirus have been identified in the country bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 50. 

Speaking at a press briefing of the National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID- 19, she stated that 41 patients had been identified as of yesterday and that another 8 were identified today (18). However, during the press conference she stated that another patient has just been identified bringing the total identified today to 9. Two of them had arrived in the country from Italy, one of India and three are tour guides who had associated with tourists from England, the minister said. She said that most of the patients being identified are those who have arrived from countries mainly affected by the virus. She stated that out of the 13 patients identified yesterday as Coronavirus positive, four had arrived in the country from Italy, two had returned from India, one each from Qatar and England while another two are tourist guides. Meanwhile the Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe stated that 212 suspected Covid-19 patients are currently being treated at selected hospitals in the country. He said that they are currently in the process of preparing several institutions to carry out treatment in case more patients are identified. 

17/03/2020 – All arrivals to BIA halted

Sri Lanka will suspend passenger arrivals from all countries at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake starting from tomorrow (18). Arrival of passengers will accordingly be halted until March 31, however, it is reported that cargo, departures and transit are to be continued. The decision came as a measure to restrict the entry of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, into the country. Previously, the Jaffna International Airport (JIA) was shut down for two weeks. 

17/03/2020 – 34 cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka confirmed

The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Sri Lanka has climbed to 34, says Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi. She mentioned this at a special media briefing by the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO). Director-General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe stated one of the 6 new patients is the wife of a tour guide who tested positive previously. Among the patients who been infected with the virus, 2 persons had returned to the country from the United Kingdom, and Germany. Another 2 patients have been reported from Kelaniya and Marawila areas. Meanwhile, a person who had returned from Qatar had also been tested positive while residing in Udugampola. 

17/03/2020 – Police registration for travelers from Europe, Iran, South Korea

If you arrived in Sri Lanka from 1st of March through till 15th of March from either: Europe, Italy or South Korea, you need to identify yourself with the local police authorities. More information along with a standard form to print and email to the police is available here: https://tuktukrental.com/travel-advice-in-sri-lanka-during-corona-covid-19-outbreak/

17/03/2020 – directly issuing train tickets cancelled

Accepting cash for tickets over the counter at Railway Stations has been stopped until further notice, stated the Sri Lanka Railway Station Master’s Union. Further, accepting parcels for transport has also been stopped, the Union further said. Considering the spread of COVID-19, the Union stated that this decision will be in effect from 12 noon today (17). If a Station Master of a Railway Station becomes infected with the virus, the relevant Railway Station will have to be quarantined, the Union pointed out. In order to avoid any inconvenience caused by this, direct issue of train tickets and accepting of parcels have been halted, he said. However, this would not impair the role of the Station Master in the operation of trains. Meanwhile, Station masters will be on duty to overlook the operation of all trains and no station will be shut down, further said the Union.

16/03/2020 – Museum Closures

The Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs has decided to temporarily close all museums in the country due to the prevailing situation concerning the spread of coronavirus. 11 national museums around the island will be closed until further notice [effective on 16/03/2020].

16/03/2020 – Number of Corona cases increases to 21

Another 7 returnees from Italy have been diagnosed positive for coronavirus bringing the total number of cases in the country to 18, stated the Director-General of Health Dr. Anil Jasinghe. They had been in quarantine at the Kandakadu quarantine facility.

15/03/2020 – Incoming flights from UK, Norway, Belgium suspended

All flights to Sri Lanka from the United Kingdom, Norway and Belgium have been suspended from tomorrow (16). The relevant travel restriction will be in effect for 2 weeks, stated the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

15/03/2020 – Public holiday announced for 16/03/2020

The government announced a public holiday on the 16/03/2020.

15/03/2020 – Quarantine previous arrivals from Italy

Steps will be taken to identify and quarantine those who had arrived in Sri Lanka from Italy and had not undergone a quarantine period, stated the Director-General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe. Persons who had arrived in the country from Italy between the 1st and 9th of March will be identified for quarantine in this manner.

14/03/2020 – Number of cases in Sri Lanka increases to 10

Two more Coronavirus positive cases have been identified in Sri Lanka, says the Director-General of Health Services. Dr. Anil Jasinghe stated that these two female patients brings the total number of Coronavirus cases in the country to ten (10). One of them had returned from Italy while the other is a relative of a coronavirus patient who was identified previously.

14/03/2020 – National Parks to be closed for 2 weeks

Zoological gardens, botanical gardens and national parks under the purview of the Wildlife Department are to be closed for two weeks. The Department of Government Information announced that this measure will be in effect from tomorrow (15/03/2020).

14/03/2020 – Number of Corona patients in Sri Lanka raised to 8

Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi said the number of patients in Sri Lanka tested positive for the Coronavirus has risen to 7. Following this announcement, another Sri Lankan, who had returned from Italy, has been tested positive for the COVID-19. Accordingly, the total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Sri Lanka now stands at eight(8). This patient was identified at the quarantine centre in Kandakadu and is currently receiving treatment at Polonnaruwa Hospital.

13/03/2020 – Three more cases of Corona confirmed

One patient is a 41-year-old Sri Lankan male who had arrived from Germany. He has been admitted to the IDH Hospital. The other two patients are from the group of people who had been quarantined at the facility in Kandakadu. One of them is a 37-year-old who had arrived from Italy and was placed under quarantine at Kandakadu upon arriving in the country. He is currently being treated at the Polonnaruwa Hospital. The other is a 43-year-old male who had also arrived from Italy. He is being treated at IDH. This brings the total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Sri Lanka to five.

13/03/2020 – Travel Ban European Countries

The Government of Sri Lanka has imposed a travel ban on all passengers from France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and Austria. The Government has informed all airlines to refrain from carrying passengers from those countries to Sri Lanka. Mr. Upul Dharmadasa, Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka said the decision will be in effect till the 29th of March 2020. This ban was reported on the 13/03/2020 and will come into effect from the 15/03/2020 at 2359 hrs. During the aforementioned time period, all airlines are strongly instructed not to board any passenger, who is either originating from the aforementioned countries or who had been to these countries within the last 14 days, during in any of their flights destined to Sri Lanka.

13/03/2020 – Travel Ban Iran, Italy & S. Korea

The Government of Sri Lanka has imposed a travel ban on all passengers from South Korea, Italy and Iran. The Government has informed all airlines to refrain from carrying passengers from those three countries to Sri Lanka. Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority H.M.C.Nimalsiri said the decision will be in effect for a period of two weeks. This ban was reported on the 13/03/2020 and will come into effect from the 14/03/2020.

13/03/2020 – Situation Report

The Ministry of Health Epidemiology unit reports that 29 individuals are under observation and there has been 2 confirmed cases (#1).

Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva noted that 935 persons are currently under quarantine in three centers set up in Kandakadu, Punani, and Diyatalawa. He noted that 103 persons who arrived in the country since 7 am on 13/03/2020 are being transported to the quarantine center in Punani (#2).

Coronavirus hotlines have been set up and the general public can reach 0710107107 or 0113071073 for any inquiries regarding the current situation on the virus (#3).

12/03/2020 – Schools Closed

On the 12th of March, the Ministry of Education decided to close all Government schools from the 13th of March until the 20th of April. This decision was taken in order to prevent parents from worrying about the spread of the Coronavirus.

11/03/2020 – On Arrival Visa Suspended

Following the ban on visa on arrival services for Chinese nationals, the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has suspended all visa-on-arrival services. Passengers will still be able to arrive on e-Visas which can be obtained online through http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ . Note: I am unsure which date this came into effect at the airport but it was first reported on the 11th of March.

11/03/2020 – Second Reported Sri Lankan Patient

A second person in Sri Lanka has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual reportedly stayed with the first Sri Lankan patient and is a 44-year-old man. He was admitted to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) at 11pm on the 11/03/2020 and is currently receiving treatment at the IDH Hospital in Angoda. 

10/03/2020 – 14 day quarantine

Passengers arriving in Sri Lanka from Italy, South Korea and Iran must stay in quarantine facilities for 14 days. It doesn’t matter what your nationality is – it just depends if you are coming from one of these countries.

10/03/2020 – First Reported Sri Lankan Patient

The first confirmed Sri Lankan patient is a 52-year-old tour guide who had worked with a group of Italians. According to reports he is currently being treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Angoda. Dr Jasinghe reports the patients son has not contracted the virus and the family has been completely quarantined. 

04/02/2020 – Visa on Arrival Removed for Chinese Travelers

Visa on arrival facilities have been cancelled for Chinese travelers. They will need to apply for electronic visa’s (E-Visas) which will be heavily scrutinized to minimize the risk of carrying the corona virus.

There is mixed information regarding the timing removing the visa on arrival (some mentioning 28th of January). The Sri Lanka Tourism Corona virus update letter released on the 2nd of February (#2) notes this occurred on the 4th of February.

27/01/2020 – First Reported Patient

The first reported patient in Sri Lanka to test positive for the Novel Coronavirus was a 47-year-old Chinese woman from the Hubei Province in China. She was screened at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for having a high fever and admitted to hospital. She recovered fully and was discharged on the 1st of February. 

Sudath Suraweera, the chief epidemiologist of the country’s health ministry, said “She arrived on January 19 and was tested positive for the virus when she was leaving the airport on January 25. She was admitted to the infectious diseases hospital”. He also stated that the rest of the travelers accompanying her had already left the country and the hotels she and her travel companions had stayed at have been identified.

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